One of my favorite shows to watch on television is TLC’s “Long Lost Family.” I’m not a sappy person by nature, but this show never fails to moisturize my tear ducts, shall we say. There’s an empowerment that comes from knowing your heritage, where you came from and whom you belong to that’s undeniable. In virtually every episode, the person in search of his or her long lost relative(s) will inevitably express how they’ve always felt a “hole” in their heart or a type of “emptiness” that comes from not knowing their biological parents. It wasn’t until my wife began researching my parent’s lineage on Ancestry.com that she made a keen observation that would abruptly end our search.
The search had become too difficult, not because of slavery, as you might expect, but because there was so much divorce, particularly on my mom’s side of the family. We couldn’t figure out who was related to whom, or why this sibling had a different name than this parent, etc. Needless to say, there were so many step-siblings we ran into dead end after dead end as each search turned into a whole new search. Sadly, my mom’s side of the family offered us more hope of discovering my ancestry than my dad’s. His dad, my grandfather, died when he was just a little boy. His mom died when he was a baby. To this day, he’s never even seen a picture of her. Nor does he know the birthdates of either of his parents. My mom passed away when I was a young boy. Therefore, searching through her lineage wasn’t urgent. However, as my dad grows older, we hoped to lessen the emptiness he’s felt over the years from not knowing much of anything about his parents.
Traditional marriage, beyond procreation, offers us so many things that we tend to take it for granted. Things like success and empowerment, cultural stability and a sense of identity. As reported by divorcesaloon.com, the divorce rate for black couples is about 70 percent. That number doesn’t include the number of couples separated – legally or not. Additionally, according to the Hoover Institute, black women are half as likely to marry as white women, but twice as likely to divorce. Not to mention, approximately 75 percent of black children are born out-of-wedlock.
Typically, when I watch “Long Lost Family,” foster and adoptive children are the primary clients. What’s most troubling to me about the aforementioned statistics is imagining how increasingly difficult it’s going to become for children to research their ancestry from one generation to the next. We’ve witnessed the impact social media has had on disrupting human interaction. Assuming the marriage rate continues to free fall in the black community, the extended family, which has been so instrumental in giving black children a sense of belonging and stability over the last half century, will be destroyed along with the concept of the traditional family altogether.
God knew what he was doing when he created the very first institution known as marriage, between Adam and Eve. When we deviate form His original plan we have to expect consequences. Not because God is punitive, but because He’s perfect. When we accept the status quo, we become beneficiaries of it. It’s no wonder crime rates and poverty amongst blacks are so high when the divorce rate in the black community as high as it is.
Traditional marriage isn’t a left-right issue. It’s an issue of preservation. How do we save the young black males dying on the streets? How do we reduce poverty in the inner city? How do we guarantee the strong family bonds we all look forward to at Thanksgiving and Christmas every year? We fight for traditional marriage.